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tutorial : How to start with the cinema 4d modeling

Welcome to the first tutorial in our “the basics” series. This series of tutorials is designed to teach you the extreme basics of Cinema 4D and is a great way to learn Cinema 4D for everyone that has never used Cinema 4D before.
In this tutorial we will cover the Cinema 4D interface, we will go through all basic menu’s and button explaining what they are and how to use them.
Lets start by opening Cinema 4D, depending on the version of C4D you are using the interface should look something like this:

As you can see I have devided the Cinema 4D (or C4D) screen into different sections, I will now explain what these sections are.

1 – The Cinema 4D File menu

Almost all functions and things you can do with Cinema 4D can be access from these menus. However, there are many useful shortcuts that will save more time than using these menus.

2 – The Shortcut Buttons.

These buttons will help you access the things you will often use in Cinema 4D quickly, without having to go through the huge amount of menus in the upper menu.

1. Undo
   2. Redo
   3. Live Selection Tool
   4. Move Tool, move your object around
   5. Scale Tool, used to scale the selected object in x, y and z direction
   6. Rotate Tool
   7. Restrict to X Axis
   8. Restrict to y Axis
   9. Restrict to z Axis
  10. Use World/Object coordinate system
  11. Render Active View, this quickly renders your scene so you can check how it looks
  12. Render in Picture Viewer
  13. Open Render Settings
  14. Add a Cube object (Hold down to get a drop down menu where you can select more primitives)
  15. Spline Drawing Tool (Hold downto get a drop down menu where you can select more Splines)
  16. Add a HyperNURBS object (Hold down to get a drop down menu where you can select more NURBS)
  17. Add an Array Object (Hold down to get a drop down menu where you can select more object holders)
  18. Add a Light Object (Hold down to get a drop down menu where you can select more light objects)
  19. Add a Bend Deformation (Hold down to get a drop down menu where you can select more Deformations)
  20. Add an emitter Object (Hold down to get a drop down menu where you can select more emitters)
  21. Selection Filter
  22. Filter, hide and unhide things from view
  23. Object browser, allows you to quickly load materials / previous projects

You will learn more about these tools as we go on. For now, just make sure you know the names of each of them.

You can also access all of these options from the Cinema 4D File Menu (1), however, these buttons are often faster.

3 – Edit and Selection

1.  Click to convert back to the default layout, or hold to load alternate layouts.  
2. Make the current object editable so it can be altered, you can also press “c” on your keyboard  
3. Enable Model Tool, you will now be able to move both your objects and the axis in your current view  
4. Enable Object Axis Tool, you can now only move your axis around, your objects will stay at there current location. 
5. Point Tool, allows you to select the different points on a object, so you can edit them. 
6. Edge Tool, allows you to select the different edges on a object, so you can edit them. 
7. Polygon Tool, allows you to select the different polygons on a object, so you can edit them.
8. Mode Tool, changes modes, hold to select different modes. For example in Auto Switch mode C4D will switch between point, edge and polygon tools automatically. 
9. Texture Tool
10. Texture Axis Tool 
11. Object Tool 

4 – View controls

These Control the current view. They are as follows:
   1. Move: hold this and move the mouse to move up/down or strafe left/right.
   2. Zoom: Hold the zoom button and move your mouse to zoom in or out of selected object, you can also use your mouse scrollbar for this
   3. Rotate: Hold and rotate your mouse to move around the selected object
   4. Window: Click this to switch from 1 view mode (for example the (x,y) plane), to the 4 way view, showing all 2d planes and the general 3d view.

You might have an hard time moving around your objects at first, but once you got these under control you will love it and use it often. Practice, practice practice!

5 – Object Manager

In the Object Manager everything in your current scene will be listed, for example objects, lights and floors.
With the object manager you can delete, nest, modify, select and do almost anything with your objects. By dragging a material onto your objects the material will be added here, so you can edit and delete it when needed.

6 – Attribute Manager

From here you can change the different attributes of your selected object.
For example when you have selected a cube, here you can change the size, name and much more.
Which attributes are available here depends strongly on the selected items.
As you can see on your left I have selected a Light Object, in the attribute manager you can change the light settings, such as do you want shadows, how strong should the light be, what color etc.
You can use the tabs on top to flip between different pages with options, don’t feel scared, you will probably never used most of them!

7 – Animation Manger

From here you can manage your animations, we won’t go into detail about this here.

8 – Material Manager

In the Material Manager you can open or create materials and shaders. All the materials you have loaded into your current project are listed here, double click on one to edit it.
You can apply the materials listed here onto your objects by dragging them onto the object inside the object viewer or the object manager.

9 – Coordinate Manager

The Coordinate manager allows you to precisely place, modify and rotate your objects. For example you want to move the center of your object to the coordinates (x=100, y=-100, z=400), you can do this in the coordinate manager!
Thats all for now, I hope you now understand the layout of Cinema 4D better, when you are just starting you will get lost looking for options many times, but don’t worry you can always go back to this tutorial to see where you can find certain tools.
My advice is to just play around with Cinema 4D, check out every option yourself to see how they work and where you can use them for, thats in my opinion the best way to quickly learn C4D.
And don’t be discouraged, you will probably never use most of the functions that Cinema 4D has anyway!

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